The Cliff Revisited: Flirting versus Being Flirted With

In this post here, I elucidated a concept I dubbed “The Cliff,” and the basic idea was this: women see great distinctions based on differences in male behavior that, to men, appear to be very subtle or even meaningless.

In other words, a woman’s opinion of a man can swing wildly based on very small factors. Nothing new about that.

On several occasions, Athol Kay has discussed leveraging preselection and sometimes overtly letting your woman know that a younger, hotter woman has made eyes at you – bringing into stark relief the threat that if you were to split up, you’d have no trouble finding a new mate.

The topic has come up again and again in this corner of the net, to endless consternation. Most of the women discussing it alternate between two forms of argument. One is a moral argument based on emotional pain: “my boyfriend/husband/dad hit on other women and it always made me really upset.”

The other is the “pink whip,” arguing that flirting with other women will cause your current woman to lose interest in you.

My point here is not to debate morality. It is to note that these discussions are always laced with an instance of The Cliff. Women consistently note that they are offended when their man hits on another woman – only to turn around and say they are proud and attracted when another woman hits on him.

The trouble here, from a man’s perspective, is that every flirtation is a two-way street. Somebody initiates, then the other person escalates, and on and on it goes. The idea of trying to determine whether he’s flirting with her or she’s flirting with him is a fool’s errand. Only in cases of a cold approach can a real judgment be made, and with women exhibiting the more indirect style of sexual pursuit, if a man’s gal has it in her head that he initiated the set with the third party, it’s going to be all but impossible to convince her otherwise no matter what the actual truth is.

So while I advise men not to approach or open women when they are out with a paramour (who by being out with you has earned at least a bit of standing as your squeeze for the night), The Cliff means that you’ll often be held to account for an encounter that’s primarily carried by the woman. (There’s an example of Vox Day’s “carte blanche” imperative – if you’re going to get crap for it either way, might as well choose the route most beneficial to you.)

Whenever I’ve seen this mentioned to women, it’s been waved off with the “real men don’t need game” explanation: “real naturals don’t have to flirt – the women come to them, because their very BEING is so attractive.” And so it’s OK for these guys to be surrounded by a brood of women, because it’s somehow not their fault.

But we guys who have studied game and practiced it understand that this explanation is almost an entirely false distinction – men are not just dropped into social environments like sculptures and immediately surrounded by adoring women. Men who are approached by women are exhibiting attractive traits, dozens of verbal, physical and behavioral cues that trip women’s body agendas into wanting to escalate the conversation. Men who are naturals are often themselves unaware what these cues are, and can hide behind a veil of ignorance and insist they aren’t doing anything to bring these women around.

Just to use a straightforward example that doesn’t even involve any conversation: it’s well-understood that getting in better physical shape will raise a man’s attraction value and might cause women to approach him without any apparent tactical effort on his part. In other words, his being is attractive ipso facto. However, to leverage this value, a man has to dress and carry himself in a way that shows off his fitness. So he’s still taking an active part in displaying his value to the world, even if it appears that he’s not making any special effort at the moment the woman approaches him. So the very idea that makes The Cliff exegesis possible, that the guy is just so attractive that he’s attracting attention without doing anything, is fallacious.

I hold men and women to the same standard here. If you’re constantly being approached by the opposite sex, you are attracting that attention in some overt way, whether it be your dress, your posture, your social demeanor or the places you hang out. You are accountable for that – it may not be entirely conscious on your part, but don’t try to tell me you don’t know it’s there.

I understand why women want to draw this distinction – a man who is approached by flirty women has immense preselection value, while a man approaching women raises the paradox that nothing is less attractive than a man trying to be attractive. It’s another strain of “it just happened,” the framing of sexual marketplace events as completely spontaneous. But as we guys know, it never “just happens” – when “it just happens,” the man has normally done a dual job of flirting, escalating and seducing a good opportunity while at the same time covering his tracks with little breadcrumbs of plausible deniability.

So women have a lot of investment in framing who’s actually doing the flirting. But to guys, trying to figure out “who started it” is an almost meaningless conundrum. Besides, putting on blinders to the attentions of women around you is liable to get you tagged by the woman you’re with as clueless and socially awkward, or unable to own your virile masculinity.

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10 responses to “The Cliff Revisited: Flirting versus Being Flirted With

  1. Brutus

    Badger,
    This quote is money, “Besides, putting on blinders to the attentions of women around you is liable to get you tagged by the woman you’re with as clueless and socially awkward, or unable to own your virile masculinity.” I took the red pill almost two years ago. I’ve improved my wardrobe and work out regularly. I’ve gotten better at flirting and recognizing the subtle flirtations of women. And I still find that there are times when I am shocked that a woman is showing interest in me. This shock has kept me from escalating a few situations that might have gone my way. Even though I know that women respond to displays of masculinity, it’s a challenge to root out the three decades of feminization that have been instilled in my being.

  2. ” If you’re constantly being approached by the opposite sex, you are attracting that attention in some overt way, whether it be your dress, your posture, your social demeanor or the places you hang out. You are accountable for that – it may not be entirely conscious on your part, but don’t try to tell me you don’t know it’s there.”

    Rather than the pre-selection value, I think this is a large part of why women deny that naturals are at fault. Because then they’d have to take responsibility for the men approaching them as well. They couldn’t go out when not with boyfriend/husband and claim that it wasn’t their fault for the men seeking her out. Or that they eye contact she’s initiating, or body language, or any other cues were her fault even when she IS with said man. They’d rather do anything they can to get out of being held equally responsible.

    I personally think the pre-selection is merely an added bonus on their part.

  3. Infantry

    But as we guys know, it never “just happens” – when “it just happens,” the man has normally done a dual job of flirting, escalating and seducing a good opportunity while at the same time covering his tracks with little breadcrumbs of plausible deniability.

    This plausible deniability preserves discretion. It’s also a projection of female ambiguity.

    During my training days I used to see what you’ve described as turning women’s own weapons against them by double binding them in a situation where they can’t place blame. These days I now think many women actually feel that ambiguous situations like you’ve described (man has no agency in getting women to hit on him) are socially acceptable. It’s definitely hamster fodder whichever way you look at it.

    As a tangent, ‘Practical Female Psychology’ by Joseph Went South et al covers female ambiguity in a greater degree. It has good theories on why ‘it just happened’ was so important in the past for women’s safety and sexual agendas. The short version is the consequences of being caught deliberately acting to pursue their sexual agendas were very bad.

  4. mikec74

    Good to see a new post. :) Another homerun.

    The trouble here, from a man’s perspective, is that every flirtation is a two-way street. Somebody initiates, then the other person escalates, and on and on it goes. The idea of trying to determine whether he’s flirting with her or she’s flirting with him is a fool’s errand. Only in cases of a cold approach can a real judgment be made, and with women exhibiting the more indirect style of sexual pursuit, if a man’s gal has it in her head that he initiated the set with the third party, it’s going to be all but impossible to convince her otherwise no matter what the actual truth is.

    Whenever I’ve seen this mentioned to women, it’s been waved off with the “real men don’t need game” explanation: “real naturals don’t have to flirt – the women come to them, because their very BEING is so attractive.” And so it’s OK for these guys to be surrounded by a brood of women, because it’s somehow not their fault.

    But we guys who have studied game and practiced it understand that this explanation is almost an entirely false distinction – men are not just dropped into social environments like sculptures and immediately surrounded by adoring women. Men who are approached by women are exhibiting attractive traits, dozens of verbal, physical and behavioral cues that trip women’s body agendas into wanting to escalate the conversation. Men who are naturals are often themselves unaware what these cues are, and can hide behind a veil of ignorance and insist they aren’t doing anything to bring these women around.

    Pure gold here. You have a knack for perfectly articulating the high level of nuance that some of these topics entails. Much of the discussion that occurs elsewhere on these points is purely facile with a simplistic reduction of if the guy iinitiates the flirting then it is a DLV which really is oblivious to the fact that it is a back and forth dance.

  5. They’d rather do anything they can to get out of being held equally responsible

    I think this has a little bit to do with it, but even more so than being held responsible is having to give up the attention she is garnering. To stop initiating eye contact or the come hither body language is to give up all the social validation and fresh attention that comes from these actions. Validation and the right kind of attention are like crack for a woman and not easily given up. So, I would say that it is more like they will do anything they can rather than giving up that fix.

  6. Brutus,

    “And I still find that there are times when I am shocked that a woman is showing interest in me. This shock has kept me from escalating a few situations that might have gone my way. Even though I know that women respond to displays of masculinity, it’s a challenge to root out the three decades of feminization that have been instilled in my being.”

    Don’t I know what you’re talking about. Recently I’ve finally made the switch, I recognize women recognizing me and I can mentally own it – I can believe they are really into me. It took a long time.

  7. “This plausible deniability preserves discretion.”

    Athol Kay had a line about “keeping her secrets.” I’ve found that’s a big piece of the comfort puzzle. I like to act with total deadpan when a woman tells me something she expects will shock or excite me. “really…” comes the reply, leaving her in a state of excitement unmatched by my own, and thus willing to invest more in me knowing I am a safe place for her to deposit emotional energy.

  8. Stingray

    Badger,

    WordPress has been sending me into moderation at other blogs for some reason. Would you mind taking me out, please? Thank you.

  9. Infantry

    Athol Kay had a line about “keeping her secrets.”

    It’s common to see girls eyes light up when you say that you don’t ‘kiss and tell’, even when people think you’ve done something worth bragging about (such as taking the hot girl home from after work drinks last week etc etc). ‘I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about *deadpan*’ followed by a subject change is also good, but often girls will tease to get you to open up as a form of playful shittesting.

    Discretion as a theme of game is referenced as far back as the classic ‘Secret Society’ post by Tyler D. Actually, it probably goes back to Casanova if you really want to get technical. Women have always been more likely to exercise their sexual agency in the shadows.

    ..willing to invest more in me knowing I am a safe place for her to deposit emotional energy.

    Exactly. Acting like you did is perfect. Like you, I’ve had women try to shock me with past sexual experiences as a test to see if I’m safe for her to discuss these things with. Discretion goes hand in hand with being non-judgmental, which is why you see many PUA’s come out publically in defence of sluts. They’re basically broadcasting that they’re a safe person to engage with.

  10. Pingback: Linkage Is Good For You 8.26.12 | Society of Amateur Gentlemen

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